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1134609 tn?1269272200

'Enlightenment'

I have posted about a particular family member before, but things just keep getting more interesting. This family member is BP and has been seeing a homeopath. Now, she has accepted her medications; a Lithium, Depakote combination is stabilizing her. However, her naturalist has her convinced that she is enlightened because her psychotic break two years ago involved a religious delusion. She is stable now, but has been reading alot into the metaphysical side of things and feels that she is the reincarnation of someone close to a certain religious figure. A 'Soldier of God' is the reference she keeps using. Her naturalist has been just beating this crap into her and feeding the delusions...

Now, she has decided to start attending church within this particular religion. I have no problem with this, whatsoever, as long as she is looking for support and comfort in her faith. But, she has admitted that she is going because she feels that she is the second coming of a powerful religious. I know this sounds like she is manic, but she isn't; she is stable and she has just bought into these delusions of grandeur.

I don't know quite how to deal with this situation. I have been blunt with her and have told her that referring to herself as 'enlightened' is arrogant and the places that she is taking this is even more so. But, I am really starting to feel like I need to remind her that an 'enlightened' individual wouldn't have put herself in the terrible financial state she is in or the strain it has caused on all of us in the family.  I also want to point out that these kinds of ideas can lead her back down a bad road; even money says she'll decide that the meds are killing her 'enlightenment' and all of this crap will start over again...

I want to be there for support, but do I have to try and tear all of this stuff down? If I do so, I am going to have to be brutally honest; a level of honesty that is going to wreck her self-esteem.

Again, I do want to emphasize that she IS STABLE. I have known her for years and have seen her hypo and full blown manic. I mean,
6 Responses
952564 tn?1268368647
This sounds a lot like what happened to me. I was having delusions like mad and the people around me were completely feeding me with them. The whole "they're after me!" and then "yes, they are." That is someone taking advantage of a person with an illness. It's wrong. The interesting thing is, at that time I was in college and a straight A student. I was working a part time job which I held for 6 months without difficulty (previously my record for holding a job before my current job.) At the end of it, I ran away from home and ended up in a bad, loveless marriage due to a lot of paranoia and self-doubt. But I'm sure at that time except for my weird belief that some random spy group was chasing me, I appeared stable.

Although she is not acting manic, she does need help. It is possible maybe she is more than bipolar. Of course she'll need to see her psychiatrist on this one. Maybe just be there for her and insist that you will help her all she has to do is ask. I don't know. I try to think what would I have done if people told me I was delusional? I'm not sure. But if someone reached out for me otherwise, I know I would have jumepd at the chance. Because I knew there was something wrong, I just didn't know what.
1134609 tn?1269272200
There's no other mental illness issues going on. My aunt has always tried to define herself by her mania and it's been difficult for her. She's been told, time and time again, that she's not herself when she's manic; her personality shines through when she's transitioning in the spring and fall. Usually, this time of year, she'd be full blown manic, but she's not; she is stable.

Now, I understand that she's struggling to find herself, but she is not doing a very good job of it right now. She has always been kind of an arrogant individual, even when she's stable. But, all of these external things going on are going to cause a bad situation.

Everyone else in the family placates her, in many ways. They know that the 'enlightenment' ideas are completely false, but they don't shut her down on it. They just go with the idea that she's 'finding herself' and walk on eggshells with it.

I am the only one that is truly honest with her because I am BP as well. I don't want to have to cut her down, because she is struggling to define her personality, but this is unacceptable. An 'enlightened' individual doesn't rack up 30,000k in credit card debt and have to file for bankruptcy. An 'enlightened' individual doesn't pull themselves off of their meds and go on a two month long drinking bender. These are things that she seemed to have forgotten and things that the family doesn't want to discuss because it brings up bad memories. But, I am done with the rose-colored glasses; I think that she may need a reminder of how serious the consequences of the disease can be and that her current frame of mind is just leading her down that path again.

In all honesty, it comes down to one simple factor; she needs to grow up. I know that is a harsh thing to say when someone is BP and I had to do it in a hurry. But, I did it; even during my worst bouts (psych center x 2 last year), I kept moving on with my life as much as I could. At this point, it isn't the disease that directly causing her problems, it's the almost child-like arrogance of her personality.
1237757 tn?1323143119
Hi,

Tough one, I had a feeling last year that I thought I could save the world.  My psychologist brought it to my attention that I may be having a messiah complex.  I think it helped that it was coming from a psychologist and I was seeking help in understanding my issues.  If she has a psychologist it might be worth seeing if she can talk to them about it and have them explain this effect.  I've found I've sometimes thought Global as well, i.e. whatever happens might affect the whole world.  The psychologist picked me up on this one as well.  If you don't get any luck with the psychologist try to research the messiah complex and bring some hard factual evidence with you if you are to confront her with it.

Regarding the church, if she is determined to go, see if you can talk to one or even some of the senior members of the church and explain her situation.  It would be great if you could find someone there that could understand your side.  Might be worth asking if any of there members are psychologists or have a medical background.  Double edged sword though as it could also go the other way as well if they buy in to the whole messiah thing then who knows.

The naturalist sounds like a real ignoramus, sadly I'm sure they feel they are doing the right thing when in fact they are being very dangerous indeed.  People like that I'd love to pull aside and tell them some hard statistical facts regarding suicide for Bipolar people and ask them if they would accept "just the possibility" that they may in fact be wrong.  
1138687 tn?1548643978
do you think it might help her to join this community?
1237757 tn?1323143119
Having a good social network of friends to interact with would be good, but gees I'd check out the church.  I never got up to the level of Messiah complex but I did think I could change the world and am highly altruistic.  Rather than going into a faith based group which is hard to argue on a rational sense you might be better served trying to steer her towards some sort of not-for-profit group, this would allow her to fullfill her highly altruistic needs and also provide a social network as well, but will hopefully give her time away from from the faith based stimulation which she sounds like shes been receiving a little too much off late.

That being said if it is a good church group with a good leader than understands that she has a mental condition and is not the second coming of christ, would likely be very beneficial to her, particularly as they could help educate her in her own condition even if you are lucky.  Hard to say, I'm living in Australia as a non practicing catholic you could basically call me an atheist even these days, and am able to avoid the church to a large degree.  It could be different if you were say living in the bible belt in the states where it is hard to avoid the church in some form or another (I lived there for a year).

Also forcing her to avoid religion is likely to just increase her desire for it as well, and if not there somewhere else, and if she is running around saying she is the next messiah she could get caught up in some cult if she is not careful.  I particularly don't like the use of the term "soldier of god" here either.

So you may have to feed this stage she is going through a bit, don't be surprised if she goes along to the church tells them shes the next messiah they say that she isn't and she cracks it either.  That happened to me I thought I had a new economic theory that would help save the world (still do) told a whole bunch of people (including heads of economics departments and major business leaders) and they even agreed with me that it was correct, but then they did nothing with it.  Pissed me off, as I thought all I had to do was come up with the idea, I then went on to setting up a business to test the theory.  Thankfully I managed to avoid a massive spending spree but the risk was certainly there trying to prove it.  My problem when I was in that state also was trying to communicate it.

Doctors and Psychologists had a little trick they used to use on me as well here that did work.  They pretended to actually buy right into it and write down the theory and even save on my medical record to keep it safe.  When I was trying to get access to a high ranking politician through a psychologist (they worked together) she wrote down the theory and said she would find out for me, she then waited several days to allow me to come down from my high and then sent me a sorry can't help but feel free to approach on your own email.  I don't know might help with the church leader maybe using it for her to believe they are at least taking her claim seriously before rebuking it.  She might also be seeking or expecting some sort of fame through this as well, I know I sure was and it can cause a lot of anxiety as well.  Worrying how you will deal with it etc.  So be wary of this also.

I'm not sure if this is proving helpful at all, I'm just trying to give you a bit of a heads up of the various stages I went through.  

So to get back to your original question, do I think it might help her joining, yes I do, so long as it is done safely.  I'd be interested in knowing how you go.  Good luck!

  

585414 tn?1288941302
Yes I've had experiences of this nature before. Its important to remember that a mood stabilizer treats mood swings and other aspects of bipolar but it doesn't stop them completely. When I experienced messianic delusions before my current recovery or when I was off a mood stabilizer (even now I require a mood stabilizer along with the antipsychotic agent I am on that's in clinical study that has mitigated most of the psychosis but not mood swings as those require a separate treatment) and during those times I would feel "enlightened" and it generally had bad results. The fact that when I was off medication years ago that I suddenly decided to "convert" to Buddhism was not of course harmful in itself and had it been a rational decision would have been fine. What wasn't was in seeking out meditation groups (which of course are good as a means of relaxation and part of some people's spiritual beliefs) is that I ran into cults that used these "meditation groups" to steer people into them (some of which were anti-medication which is highly of concern). Everyone has the right to their religious beliefs and faith based recovery can be helpful for some people but I agree with above post above watching for messianic delusions and its important to understand those because it could more easily be that rather than being arrogant. If a person notices a person make any sudden changes in lifestyle or belief system and there are reasons behind it that might seem other than rational its best to encourage them to speak to their psychiatrist. Some of those changes would be fine otherwise and of course at all times its essential to note whether any place they are attending might take a stance that is anti-treatment. Any major decision about a person's life should be made while stable.
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